19 thoughts on “5 Unhealthy Emotional Attachments

  • June 5, 2019 at 8:56 am

    Thank you for the article. It hit close to home. I wasn’t always needy. I didn’t use to care what others thought and was always true to myself and my spouse. Then my spouse became disabled with an ABI and all intimacy stopped because of the disability. I find myself starving for love and affection and human touch now. It’s getting more difficult by the day to keep living this most difficult life. We use to be very intimate. I know what my spouse is going through, it is very difficult. I have compassion and empathy for that. I too, have had a difficult time and after years, found myself in the arms of another. Now that the relationship has ended I am discovering how unhealthily attached I am to this person. I feel like I will never be loved intimately again. I can’t seem to let go. This person turned out to be extremely narcissistic and a sex addict, only using me for the “ego fill”.
    I wish I knew a way to rid my brain of this person and go back to life the way it use to be, before my spouse and I both had a brain injury. My brain/heart injury was brought on by my stupid need to feel desired, loved and appreciated, a complete choice on my part, sadly. My poor spouse had no choice and that saddens me for the bad things I’ve done. Could you write an article for those who are trying to do the right thing but make horrible mistakes along the way and how to help us heal and change?

      • June 9, 2019 at 11:30 pm

        Thank you for changing my name, I appreciate that so much! Bless you and all you do.

      • June 9, 2019 at 11:34 pm

        Thank you.

        No worries! We all make bad decisions! Not just you!
        Take care

  • June 5, 2019 at 9:13 am

    Great article! A very comprehensive approach, and really reveals the motives behind certain relations. Most people don’t know the cause of their attractions or rejections.

  • June 5, 2019 at 5:31 pm

    Tamara, you just defined to me, for the 1st time in my life WHY I attach those super long invisible tentacles to people I CRAVE to have a connection with. It never works out, and I’ve never completely understood the way that I think I do now. It’s so true. BPD is so cruel and frustrating. Any ideas on ways to stop this behavior?

  • June 5, 2019 at 5:52 pm

    I’ve been guilty of numbers 1. & 2. at times. I was starved for affection as a child, teen, college student. I was able to function normally when I had family and friends, and normal attachments. After divorce, however, then having remarried an emotionally unavailable person with traumas of his own, plus moving so often I was unable to develop normal, slowly developing friendships, I tended to grab at kind individuals as drowning persons grab at lifeguards and life savers. After my divorce I’d go into bars and drink Diet Coke just to be near other people.

    This happened again, recently, after moving to a location to care for a dying parent, settling the estate while working, moving again. I did have three close local friends: one abandoned me for refusing to leave my husband, saying she loved me too much to watch what would happen to my life if I stayed with him, and the other two dying a year apart. I felt overwhelming loneliness and the pain of isolation, again. I felt desperate. I know needy people are unattractive to others, who shun them. (Ditto for the depressed. We-the-people only want happy-happy-happy! Self centeredness, indifference — people only want to be around people who make ME feel good.) Things are better now for me, now, in several ways but my question is this: what are the healthiest ways for people who ARE alone, in new cities, to relieve the feeling of being parched by an internal desert, during the years it takes to grow true, slowly growing healthy adult relationships? What are the healthiest ways to cope?

  • June 6, 2019 at 6:31 pm

    This was an interesting read, my experience is everyone saying they wish I would open up more they call me closed off. They also call me defensive. But can understand why this could be a problem.

    • June 9, 2019 at 11:14 pm

      Hi Arika,
      Thanks for commenting. I see a lot of clients struggling with this. Toxic families can always have something to point out or say, but rarely fully understand it or can change it.

  • June 9, 2019 at 6:02 pm

    My therapist let me text and email her and it got to a place where I realized I was using that as an outlet instead of relying on myself to get through triggers between sessions. We talked about it a few times but then I’d get sucked back in like a compulsion. Was it her job to have us talk about what was happening and help me stop texting and emailing so much? I’d often text her more if I was triggered by something she suggested I do and I became deregulated. It got blurry because she also would ask me to text her, send pics, ask me about referrals for other health care providers for her other clients. She acted as my dog trainer too after telling me to get dogs so I’d send her updates. She was very involved in my dating life so I’d text her updates or she’d ask for them. But I’m horrified looking back and seeing how many ranting and triggered emails I’d sent her over the years. I believe I was stuck in such an early attachment with her and placed all my relationship energy on her rather than the relationships in the rest of my life. Like I was in an insular world with her. 2 sessions a week on the phone. But I did tell her I thought my relationship with her was unhealthy and she said it wasn’t.

    • June 9, 2019 at 11:11 pm

      Hi Jill,
      This is complex because a lot of context is missing and the therapist isn’t able to explain what the purpose for allowing that was. But I will say, email or text should be at a minimum and that therapists should always set the boundary or revisit the topic of boundaries. It’s very easy to allow a client to email or text as an outlet but that should be tempered with boundaries and addressed in therapy. I would certainly have stopped you or stopped replying and then address it face to face. You needed emotional support but that need was driving boundary violations that were maintained by your therapist.

      It was indeed unhealthy! I do hope you have resolved this issue or ar least found a therapist who can better assist you toward a healthier place.
      Take care

      • December 16, 2019 at 12:25 am

        Thank you Támara,
        I have found a new therapist and it’s amazing how different it is to work with someone trained in trauma, attachment, and respects me.

        I’ve since realized how much was missed regarding transference and reenacting early dynamics.

  • June 13, 2019 at 6:03 pm

    Yes, I identify with emotional neediness. I was severely abused as a child and my mother was very nasty towards me. I use to write notes about her, stating that I hated her. She would find them and yell at me. She threatened to go crazy on me. At the time, I was 8 or 9 years old.
    Later on in life I was hospitalized for depression and took some psychological tests. I was diagnosed with a major depressive disorder, general anxiety disorder and borderline personality disorder. It is very hard to want to live when I have all these issues.

  • October 14, 2019 at 9:37 pm

    Looking back on my childhood it was outrageous. My mother was phenomenally needy and understandably so considering her upbringing. She had no less than 6 “serious” partners by the time I reached 17 years old. All of them alcoholics drug addicts or both.

    Her 5 siblings were no less damaged and acted out in countless, countless ways. Our family truly was a dysfunctional circus of epic proportions.

    By the time I left home it was beyond time to leave. For my own emotional healths sake. It’s still very sad to look back on. Probably always will be. I hold on to the good times however with any deeply dysfunctional family the “good” times were also peppered with tons of emotionally unhealthy moments.

    You can’t go back and fix these things. It is what it is. Acceptance and realizing you can make your life much better than that if you so choose is key.

    There is healing in saying “my home will NOT be like that”. There is healing in functional empathy, accepting vulnerability and offering healthy love/support.

    This is not a journey I would have chosen however it is the journey I’m on. So making the best of things and learning all those healthy functional things that were kept from us as children is imperative to a truly happy life.

    May all of us who endured these types of homes growing up find peace. We can if we sincerely try. There’s hard work involved but it’s well worth the effort.

    And thank you! to people like Tamara for helping.

    • October 21, 2019 at 12:11 am

      Thank you for sharing this with us. This is a painful experience that you sound to have “resolved” to a certain degree with wisdom and logical reasoning. When you are able to objectively look at your situation healing can occur. It seems like you have done this so that you could move forward and accept the journey you are on. We all have had to do this to a certain degree. As you state, there is a ton of hard work to do.
      I welcome you to my Youtube channel where we talk a lot about this topic: http://www.youtube.com/TamaraHtherapist.
      Take care

  • November 16, 2019 at 2:56 am

    Hi Tamara,
    Attachment issues is a tough one for me and yet, I didn’t have a name or explanation for it until about 8 or 9 years ago. I just thought it was one of my “quirks” so to speak.
    I have improved through my therapy and reading/research but it’s a process for sure. I can easily identify with several of the things you wrote about. For instance, I tend to either not trust at all, trust completely or prematurely or trust the wrong person period! And I noticed many years ago that for some reason, if in conversation with someone (usually a woman this would happen with) that person just innocently and casually called me “Hon,” “Honey,” “Sweetheart” or other “terms of endearment,” I found myself drawn to them–NOT in a sexual way by any means but like a little girl hungry for affection, looking for mommy. Obviously, most of the time I would not DO anything about the feelings but deep down it scared me! In fact, I recall a poem I wrote probably 20 years ago now called “Friends and Kind Strangers” in which one of the lines said something like “I look for you in every woman’s eyes, in every woman’s arms. Can you face it after all these years? Can you be my mother?” It was about that yearning that I have often felt when I hurt, the need to be protected and comforted, the need to be hugged and held. But the shame I feel even now around that is tremendous!
    Ironically, my mom was and is loving and would hug us and give us a good night kiss if she had a night off from work. And she would often say “I love you” but I was put in a parental type role early on not only with my stepfather’s abuse but also chores, being the oldest, feeling I had to protect the younger ones AND both parents turning to me when they were troubled by something. To this day, that happens –not maliciously on the part of my mom but because she is turning 79 very soon. I feel like I give hugs to my family but I don’t get them for ME. Does that make sense?
    Anyway, I am, as always, glad to connect with you Tamara! I hope and pray you are well!

    • December 15, 2019 at 8:29 pm

      Hi Lori!
      Nice to hear from you too! I have been away from this blog for a while. I’ve been doing a lot of work over at my Youtube.
      But I do understand what you are saying about attachment. I think a lot of what you have shared with me has a lot to do with attachment issues. I think, in many ways, most of humanity struggles with attachment in some fashion. Based on your trauma history, family dynamics, and adult challenges it doesn’t surprise me that you recognize attachment concerns within yourself. That’s good. It shows you have personal insight and are well aware of your strengths and weaknesses.

      Take good care and sending prayers up for you!


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